New Year Resolutions For You and Your Pet
Each December, as we close out one year and anticipate a new one, we spend some time making New Year Resolutions. Most often, these resolutions are centered around developing new habits that will make our lives better, such as starting an exercise program or eating healthy. Have you ever considered including your pet in your New Year Resolutions? Think about it: Most pets, especially as they age, could use more exercise and in many cases, need to have their diet “tweaked” just like we do. Below, we share some great new year resolutions that are easy to implement, will help you form a stronger bond between you and your pet and keep both of you motivated through the new year.
- Longer Walks
If you already take walks with your pet, consider adding some extra time to your walking routine. You’ll both benefit from the extra exercise. If you are not in the habit of walking your pet then this is a great time to start, especially if you have been wanting to start your own exercise habit. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and if you are not a habitual exerciser, then walking is an easy way to get started. It’s easy on the joints and not overly exerting, plus taking your dog along will offer companionship for both of you.
- Measure Food Servings
It’s very easy to over-feed our pets. To ensure this doesn’t happen, always use an 8 ounce measuring cup to scoop their food. Much like humans, as pets age they don’t need quite as much food as they did when they were younger and growing. As you begin to adjust your own intake of food, consider doing the same for your pet.
- Revise Your Pet's Diet
The different stages of a pet’s life require different dietary needs. For example, young pets have very specific needs to support their growing bodies, while older pets may have lower energy needs or develop medical conditions that require a specific type of food. Choosing a food that will support your pet’s changing health needs is vital to their overall health. Resolve this year to talk with your vet regarding the best food for your pet’s current life-stage.
- Learn New Tricks
Contrary to the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” turns out you can. In fact, recent studies have shown that teaching your older dog some new commands and practicing them is a very effective way to combat cognitive degeneration in your dog. Learning new commands and practicing familiar ones will go a long way in keeping your older dog sharp. Additionally, consider incorporating some new routes in your walking routine. New sights and smells will provide great stimulation for your pet and will keep you from getting bored with the “same old routine.” Introducing new toys is another great way to keep your older dog sharp and keep your younger dog engaged. Don’t feel you need to buy them new toys all the time, but simply rotate their toys; your pets won’t know the difference.
- Regular Grooming
Pet grooming should include brushing their coat on a regular basis as well as brushing their teeth. Both dogs and cats will benefit from a daily brushing. Brushing serves many purposes, it removes excess fur from their coat which reduces shedding and it helps to distribute oils from their skin to their fur, keeping their coats healthy and shiny. Not to mention, it’s a great bonding time between you and your pet. Daily tooth brushing is also important because it keeps tartar and plaque at bay. If you choose to brush your pet’s teeth, make sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. You can also offer your pet dental treats that are designed to reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar.
- Increase Socialization
Any New Year resolution is easier to keep if you do it with a friend. Not only will a friend help to hold you accountable, but having friends join you and your pet for walks and other outdoor activities is a great way to help socialize your dog with other people and other dogs.
These are just a few simple ways that you can include your pet in your New Year Resolutions, but we believe these are simple changes you can make that will have a huge and lasting impact on the health and happiness of you and your pet.